“What I want you to know” en by Kat van Duin
The fashion designer, businesswoman and mother shares lifechanging advice.
I believe that we become what we think, which means that we all have the power to create experiences and achievements with our mindset. To make sure that your mind focuses on the uplifting, the positive and the aspirational, try these exercises:
Set intentions for your day: you’ll be amazed at how they manifest in your life. At least once a year, set time aside to make a mood board of images that express your dreams and hopes for the future – it’s a powerful step towards realising what you want.
Forget about failure! I don’t believe in it. I believe in taking risks and learning. Everything in my life has led me to where I am today, and I have no regrets.
Know that the right mentality, selfbelief and ability to frame outcomes in a positive way will help you turn challenges and setbacks into successes and life lessons. You never know who you might meet as you go about your day – I’ve made amazing business contacts in unexpected places, and often through chance encounters. And first impressions always count. What you wear also affects how you feel, and that shows in your posture, body language and confidence. So it’s important to be mindful of how you look and not to underestimate the power of aesthetics and personal branding.
Work out what styles suit you, and how this aligns with the image you want to portray, and then invest in a good ‘uniform’: key pieces that express your sense of self. This will hone your identity, take the panic out of deciding what to wear in the mornings and help you leave home every day feeling incredible.
Money and prestige are fleeting. Loving what you do is more important for your happiness than a pay cheque or job title. So whether you’re leaving school and setting out in the world, considering what to study next or contemplating a job change, take time to think about what you really love doing.
Ask yourself what kind of environment you want to experience, what kind of products you want to work with and what kind of people you want to be surrounded by, and let those answers be your guide. I lost my first husband in a motorbike accident when my second child was only a few months old. And since we’d just moved to SA, my support network was limited. It was one of the toughest times of my life, but I had a choice: dwell on the loss or look forward, and for the sake of my children and myself, I focused on my future.
Life isn’t fair, and we all encounter tragedies and hardships. But it’s not what happens to us that defines us; it’s the choices we make as a result of those trials.
Always choose to look up and ahead. And know that there is nothing more glorious, uplifting or exciting than the prospect of great things to come. One of my first jobs in my homeland of Poland was door-todoor selling. It was the most difficult job I’ve ever done, but it taught me valuable skills, such as the ability to read body language, which is crucial for connecting with and convincing people to buy things.
That job also taught me to never take “No” for an answer, and to stay motivated for the next sale – even if I’d just had a door slammed in my face.
Our fear of hearing “No” is such an unfounded one. When one door closes, another one opens. And what’s so awful or scary about hearing “No” and simply moving on? Besides, no one ever got anywhere without asking, and when you start asking with confidence and a warm smile, you’ll be amazed by how many times you’ll hear “Yes”!
HOW TO CREATE A BRAND
Have a voice Your brand needs to be distinct and recognisable, and consistency is key. From the way you write about it to the font and logo colours, have a single set of values and one aesthetic that informs everything and binds it all together. Trial your logo It may look great printed, but maybe the font is too skinny to emboss or embroider, or maybe the image is trademarked. Consider all of these factors once you’ve chosen a logo – you don’t want to have to change it later. Know your market It will take time to discover your target market, but once you do, you’ll know how to sustain and grow your brand. Be your brand People relate to other people more than to products or services, and clients want to see the face behind the name. You will always be the best selling tool for your brand; represent it well.